Institutional investors and the corporate community are concerned about the lack of female representation on corporate boards, according to the results of latest annual global benchmark voting policy survey released on Monday by Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS).
The survey collects the views of both institutional investors and various segments of the issuer community (including companies, corporate advisors, directors, and trade groups, among others).
The survey highlights that 69% of respondents say that it’s problematic for a company to have zero female directors on its board. Of these, 43% said that the lack of female directors could indicate problems in the board recruitment process.
On the issue of dual class share structures, 43% of institutional investors said that unequal voting rights are never appropriate for a public company.
Another 43% said that unequal voting rights may be appropriate for new public companies, “if they are subject to automatic sunset requirements or at firms more broadly if the capital structure is put up for periodic re-approval by the holders of the low-vote shares,” the announcement from ISS says.
Half of corporate respondents said that companies should be allowed to choose whatever capital structure they want, and 27% said that a multi-class structure may be appropriate, subject to shareholder approval.
As for the disclosure of corporate pay ratios, 16% of respondents are not planning to make use of this sort of information. Almost 75% of investors said that they plan to use this information to track pay ratios over time, and to compare with other companies and sectors.
Next month, ISS intends to release draft proxy voting policies for public comment, and aims to publish final policies by mid-November in time for the upcoming proxy voting season.